First Cup: Tuesday

  • Bob Finnan of The News-Herald: "Dan Fegan said the lines of communication are open with the Cavs' front office. That's probably a good sign if there's any chance of Anderson Varejao returning. 'I met with Danny (Ferry) this summer,' Fegan said. 'This was a business decision for me from the beginning. It got whipped up into an emotional issue. It will come down to a contract. I told (Ferry), 'I want you and the organization to know that Andy is happy here. If we can work it out, he'd be happy to come back. If not, trade him.'"

  • Sekou Smith of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Al Horford's name has been mysteriously absent from any of Hawks coach Mike Woodson's pre and post practice rants so far this season. One look at Horford shortly after halftime and it should be clear to anyone wondering why. The guy is beyond his years in terms of how he approaches the game. Horford was at the center of the Hawks' rebound from a perpetual 10-point first-half deficit, trading elbows, shots and rebounds with Dwight Howard as the Hawks flipped the script and went up by as many as 10 points."TrueHoop First Cup

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "Compared to the daylong marathons required to and from China, Dwyane Wade said this itinerary comes off as a breeze. 'This will be cool right here, get a little nap, listen to some music and we'll be there,' he said. 'I've been on a couple longer, so it'll be cool to me.' The toughest player to sell on the trip might have been first-round pick Michael Beasley. 'I don't think man should be in the air for that long,' he said, 'but, hey, I got go. I want to get there, but I just don't want to fly. I don't want to go in the boat, either.' Informed the Heat would not be crossing the English Channel by boat, but rather beneath the water by train, Beasley offered a perplexed look. 'Two-hour train?' he asked of Friday's EuroStar plan. 'I pass. I'll pass.'"

  • Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post: "For all the crying around Denver when center Marcus Camby was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for a bag of In-N-Out burgers, you would have thought the Nuggets had committed a historic basketball blunder. Something as dumb as using the No. 3 pick in the 1998 NBA draft to take Raef LaFrentz ahead of Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki or Paul Pierce? Or as stupid as allowing Dikembe Mutombo to leave town and take the soul of the Nuggets with him? No way. Well, now that we all have a little perspective, here's a news flash for you: The Nuggets can win 50 games without Camby -- and if George Karl deserves to be coach of this team, they will."

  • Kate Fagan of The Philadelphia Inquirer: "Maurice Cheeks said Marreese Speights has NBA-level skills, but the pace of the game right now is beyond him. 'Not knowing where to be, or what's going on in each play, has taken away the impact of his skills,' Cheeks said. Speights said he knows he has 'a long way to go.' 'Yeah, the guys are the same size,' Speights said. 'But they're stronger and faster than me, so there are a lot of adjustments I have to make.' Cheeks called this progression a 'learning curve,' one every rookie must face: Last season, Thaddeus Young's minutes progressed from minimal to, come playoff time, substantial."

  • John Denton of Florida Today: "The Magic are carrying four shooting guards on the roster, meaning Redick's desire for increased playing time could be severely in jeopardy again. Pietrus is the starter, Lee is the prized rookie and Keith Bogans is valuable because he can play two positions. So where does that leave Redick? Not even he's too sure. 'It's always good to be noticed, but I'm not an established player and there's no point in thinking that I've arrived,' said Redick, who asked to be traded last year in hopes of getting more playing time. 'I went through that last preseason and played pretty well. But it doesn't seem to matter at this point. It matters Oct. 29 (the regular-season opener), and that's what I've been trying to get ready for all summer. I want to try and get a spot in the rotation and I've made some positive steps, but I have a long way to go.'"

  • Ross Siler of The Salt Lake Tribune: "Talking about the new lighting and sound system installed at EnergySolutions Arena, which will enable the Jazz to darken their arena for player introductions this season, Deron Williams was practically glowing Monday. 'I've been trying to get that since we got here,' Williams said. 'When you're growing up, you always envision NBA games, going and turning the lights off and having intros. It was kind of weird when I came here and I'm like, 'What's wrong with the lights?' The Jazz long have been the last NBA team to introduce players with the lights on. They went 37-4 at home last season, but Williams said there was little sentiment among players to stick with something that wasn't broken. 'It feels like a real game,' Williams said, adding that he'd had conversations with team president Randy Rigby about several arena upgrades, including a new video board."

  • Janis Carr of The Orange County Register: "Kobe Bryant didn't flinch, didn't gasp. He didn't even raise an eyebrow. Better yet, he didn't argue Coach Phil Jackson's assessment of who was the greatest athlete he had ever coached. Jackson said this past summer that Dennis Rodman, not Michael Jordan or Bryant, was the best athlete's he's had on a team. 'I do not disagree with that. I do not disagree with that at all,' Bryant said Monday. 'You first think of Jordan, obviously, but Dennis as an athlete, he was a freak of nature in terms of his size.'"

  • Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News: "If coach Gregg Popovich has his way -- and he almost always does -- Sunday's yoga session won't be the last of the preseason for the Spurs. 'Concentrating on flexibility, relaxation, lowering of anxiety -- that sort of concept is what we're looking at,' Popovich said. 'It's something new for us this year. We're going to do it for a while and see what we think.' Though some Spurs players -- most notably resident wise guy Matt Bonner -- cracked jokes about the team's new new-age bent, many players gave Sunday's session rave reviews."